Your yoga mat is the only piece of yoga kit you need, so the right yoga mat can make a great deal of difference to your practice. You can easily get lost in the different varieties of yoga mats available in the market. When picking your first mat, your priority will be to help you get the most out of your flow. This guide on how to choose the right yoga mat helps you break down your choices to land on the right mat for you.
You have to pick a yoga mat based on the yoga activities that you are mainly going to do. You require a greater level of comfort and cushioning when practicing gentle flows like yin yoga – types that need you to be in contact with the floor and focus on slower postures. As a beginner, go for a thickness between 5 and 10 mm so that it helps give you agility and prevents injuries.
Are you going to flow at home, or are you thinking of going to a studio? Where you want to follow will be a key factor in deciding what you want to flow on. If you want to practice at-home yoga, you can easily go with one of the sturdier, more-cushioned options that are heavier in their bearing. For choosing the right mat to take with you to a studio or class, try investing in something lighter and thinner that you can pack on the go, without hassle.
Yoga mats come in different weights and thicknesses to suit your requirements. This comes in handy for those who have sensitive joints, because an ample amount of cushioning is a prerequisite for flowing gracefully and comfortably. If you happen to have weak or sensitive joints, a thickness of 8mm-13mm is great. This is unlikely to snag during flows and ensures a strong and flowing practice.
If your joints aren’t rubbery and painful, 5mm-8mm is the standard thickness of yoga mats and should be your pick. This thickness ensures you have a solid contact with the floor which is important for many poses.
If you’re a frequent traveler it is better to go for a thin, portable mat. With yoga mats of 3mm-5mm thickness, you will have to leave behind some comfort. But it will pack down smaller to be easily carried in your luggage.
Which material, and how durable?
It is important that you invest in a yoga mat made of durable materials. If looking for higher durability, you can choose yoga mats made of plastic-based material called PVC which is durable, cleanable, grippy and latex-free.
Another good option is TPE, which is a blend of plastic and rubber polymers. It is less durable than PVC but is completely recyclable and more environmentally friendly.
If sustainability is your priority for a yoga mat, then you will have to compromise a bit on durability. There are a wide variety of choices in eco or natural mats made of materials like natural rubber, cotton or jute that are completely biodegradable and environmentally friendly. These materials will be less grippy on the floor but can offer you sufficient traction against your hands and feet.
If both sustainability and durability are a concern for you then you can choose thicker yoga mats in natural materials, because they will be more durable than thinner mats.
Once you have narrowed down your preferences for thickness, material and durability, the two things left to consider are your budget and style preferences. You can go ahead to choose a yoga mat of desired color, print or pattern while meeting your budget requirements. Now you know how to choose the right yoga mat, so why wait?
Start flowing, today.
If you liked our guide on how to choose the right yoga mat, check out the quirky yoga types to try on your new mat.